Monday, July 4, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 24

Day 24 - A Cover Song Better Than the Original

"Somebody's Baby" - Phantom Planet, Not Another Teen Movie: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2001)

Original by Jackson Browne, Fast Times at Ridegmont High: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1982)

Most people remember Fast Times at Ridgemont High for Phoebe Cates baring her breasts in Judge Reinhold's masturbatory fantasy ("Hi, Brad. You know how cute I always thought you were.") Or they remember two time Oscar winner Sean Penn playing surfer dude stoner Jeff Spicoli ("All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine.") But most people don't remember that the film starts out being about 15-year-old Stacy Hamilton and her quest to lose her virginity.

As any mildly attractive teen girl will find, "quest" is a pretty bombastic word for losing it. Actually, in the first 20 minutes of the film, Stacy complains about her v-card, sets her eyes on stereo salesman Ron Johnson and beds him in a dugout. Mission accomplished. Over the uncomfortable scenes of Stacy's deflowerization we hear Jackson Browne's sweet, folky ballad. It's not a bad song, just hard to enjoy on its own. Whenever I hear the original I automatically think "surf nazis".

Then in 2001, after a resurgence of teen based movies (She's All That, American Pie, etc.), those clever people who made Scary Movie decided that teen movies also needed a pie in the face. The soundtrack (cleverly enough) was made up of 80's teen movie theme songs covered by circa 2001 pseudo-popular artists. "Somebody's Baby" made the cut, although this version is pop-punked out giving the song a different feel entirely. While the original is sort of melancholy and representative of foolish youthful choices, the Phantom Planet cover is upbeat and hopeful and can be used in several contexts.

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